Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Fast, thirsty, loud and proud.

A close friend often observes unique cars, shakes his head, and says: “Well, if no one bought them, they wouldn’t make them.” The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a recent addition to his umbrella of automotive disbelief.

Is there a market for a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 from the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with 707 horsepower? Is there a public demand for a four-wheel drive sport utility vehicle that accelerates from 0-60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds?

The Trackhawk is among the fastest SUVs available. Accelerate with gusto and the engine is loud and proud. The power is plenty to provide self-induced chiropractic adjustments.

The second-year vehicle’s place in the industry contradicts every concern for an improved environment, “green” initiatives and fuel efficiency. The Trackhawk has estimated gas mileages average of 11 miles per gallon in city driving, 17 miles per gallon on the freeway. The combined 13 miles per gallon combined is the lowest in the truck family. Only the Bugatti Chiron, Lamborghini Aventador, both supercars, and Bentley Mulsanne, a luxury sedan, have worse fuel efficiencies.

With a healthy set of options included, the Trackhawk’s price exceeds $100,000 and is the most expensive vehicle Jeep has ever made. It’s a niche of a niche market. Only about 7,500 of Jeep’s showcase vehicle were manufactured globally in 2018.

Still, the public’s desire for such vehicular bravado much exist. The Trailhawk has several competitors, notably the Lamborghini Urus, billed as the world’s first Super SUV, and the third-generation Porsche Cayenne GTS.

The Urus has an MSRP of $200,000 and has a combined average of 14 miles per gallon. The equivalent Cayenne GTS trim has an MSRP of $124,600 and has a combined average of 20 miles per gallon.

The Trackhawk is available in one trim. In addition to its monstrous engine, the Jeep flagship has four-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic transmission and can tow 7,200 pounds. Standard safety and technology and comfort features abound. It’s all complimentary.

Easy steering, a surprisingly small turning radius and responsive brakes add to the SUV’s overall appeal. Beyond the wicket horsepower, comfort is the Trackhwack’s best quality.

Jeep once was known for its utilitarian qualities. Former military vehicles make reputable and rugged off-road chariots. It’s hard to imagine the manufacturer now offers a six-figure vehicle.

There must at some reason to power down trails, go deep into woods or even to a getaway campground in a Jeep with race car speed. But it’s hard to fathom. And why would anyone spend $100,000 to do so?

James Raia, a syndicated automotive columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes the website, www.theweeklydriver.com.